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282          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

intensive that only the tip of a plum branch is given in the
whole picture and left there as perfect. And yet, with all this
subjective interference with the material reality, the effect is not
a jarring assertion of the artist's ego, but a complete harmony
with nature. How was this achieved, and how did this peculiat
tradition grow up?

This artistic tradition did not come by chance or by an
accidental discovery. Its characteristics may be most con-
veniently summed up, I think, in the word lyricism, and this
lyricism came from a certain type of human spirit and culture.
For we must remember that Chinese painting is closely related,
in spirit and technique, to Chinese calligraphy and Chinese
poetry. Calligraphy gave it its technique, the initial twist
which determined its future development, and Chinese poetry
lent it its spirit* For poetry, painting and calligraphy are
closely related arts in China. The best way of understanding
Chinese painting is to study these influences which went into
the building of that peculiar tradition.

Briefly stated, this peculiar tradition, which we have called
its lyricism, is the result of two revolts which modern Western
painting is going through, but which came to the history of
Chinese painting in the eighth century. They are the revolt
against the subjection of the artist's lines to the painted objects,
and the revolt against a photographic reproduction of the
material reality. Chinese calligraphy helped it to solve the
first problem, and Chinese poetry helped it over the second.
A study of these revolts and of the genesis of this artistic tradition
will enable us to see why Chinese painting came to have its
present character.

The first problem of Chinese painting, and of all painting,
is; What shall be done with the lines or strokes as paint is put
cm the canvas or ink on the silk? It is a purely technical prob-
lem, the problem of "touch." But no artist can escape it, and
the touch used will determine the whole style of his work. If
the line is mechanically used to trace the lines of the painted
objects, it can have no freedom of its own. Sooner or later, we
shall get tired of it.

It is the same rebellion which we see in modern art, a
rebellion which came up in China with Wu Taotzu (c. 700-760),